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exchange theories share a number of basic principles centered on the concepts of rewards, costs and reciprocity (Sprecher, 1998). Specifically, social exchanges models share the following three basic assumptions: “(a) Social behavior is a series of exchanges; (b) individuals attempt to maximize their rewards and minimize their costs; and (c) when individuals receive rewards from others, they feel obligated to reciprocate” (Sprecher, 1998: 32). In studying sexuality, these principles are applied to the exchange of sexual resources for other resources that can be sexual or non-sexual (like intimacy, commitment, social position, or money). People are portrayed as entering, staying in, and leaving sexual relationships based on the reward-cost balance experienced in them. Of specific interest is the Interpersonal Exchange Model of Sexual Satisfaction (Byers, 2005), which focuses on the exchange of specifically sexual resources and consequences for sexual (as opposed to general relationship) satisfaction. These theories have been applied to understanding and predicting sexual behaviors including partner selection, occurrence of premarital sex, relationship longevity or dissolution, and extradyadic sexual relationships.
Sexual Strategies Theory
Finally, a good deal of contemporary social research into human sexuality is conducted using Sexual Strategies Theory (Buss, 1998), which falls within the evolutionary psychology framework. In their most simple form, evolutionary theories of sexuality argue that sexual selection (i.e. greater sexual success leading to more offspring and greater success in passing on one’s genes) in the early stages of human evolution resulted in the proliferation of certain traits in men and women that continue to be present today. Evolutionary psychology specifically focuses on how psychological mechanisms (as opposed to physical or behavioral characteristics) became common through processes of sexual selection. An example of a thesis